MAC to Millenium – The University of Maryland from A to Z


More than eighty years ago, as part of Alumni Day, campus officials held an ivy-planting ceremony on the shady hill near Morrill Hall during which class traditions were formally transferred from the graduating seniors to the juniors. Many of the traditions that existed in 1920s — freshman-sophomore tug-of-war, May Day, all-class proms, rat caps — have disappeared, but the new ones, like rubbing Testudo’s nose for good luck and firing off a cannon every time the football team scores, have taken their place.

MAC to Millennium brings together these traditions and many other fun and unusual tales about our campus, from its founding in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) to the twenty-first century. We hope you enjoy this compilation and that you rub Testudo’s nose every chance you get!

Start learning fun and interesting UMD facts:

Relive Campus History with University AlbUM


Did you know that you can browse historic University of Maryland photographs online anytime you want? Just check out University AlbUM! The site hosts a wide variety of photos ranging from athletics to campus life. Feel free to browse by decade using the drop-down box, or search for subjects and keywords using the search box.

You can even search for and watch historic University of Maryland football games!

The University Archives Acquires the Papers of Jerome Forrest

The papers of a former University of Maryland graduate student, Jerome Forrest, who studied under Dr. Gordon W. Prange, are now accessible at the University Archives.


Dr. Gordon W. Prange was a professor of history at the university from 1937 until his death in 1980. He is best known for his research on the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces during World War II and is responsible for bringing to the university a collection of Japanese print publications issued during the early years of the Occupation of Japan, 1945-1949, entitled The Gordon W. Prange Collection. The University Archives also houses a collection of his personal papers; you may consult the finding aid for this collection on ArchivesUM at

Jerome Forrest was an associate of Dr. Prange prior to enrolling at the university and conducted a series of interrogations with Dr. Prange between 1947 and 1951; the transcripts of those interrogations as well as correspondence between Prange and Forrest are included in this collection.

Dr. Prange convinced Forrest to enroll in the University of Maryland as graduate student to study under him in 1951. Forrest took one course on Recent Far Eastern Politics in the spring of that year before withdrawing from the university. He went on to pursue a career as an economist and trade negotiator and continued to work for the U.S. government from the 1950s to the 1970s before working as a consultant for the remainder of his career. His interest in U.S. involvement in the Far East never waned and was tied into his work as an economist and trade negotiator. He edited and published many publications relating to the Far East post-World War II, and that work is present within this collection as well.

Mr. Forrest passed away on May 18, 1998, and his daughter and grandson, June and Jeffrey Stanley, have graciously donated his papers to the University Archives. These papers are closely related to the Papers of Gordon W. Prange and will serve as a great companion to that collection as well as other collections relating to Far Eastern studies.

For more information about the Papers of Jerome Forrest or Gordon W. Prange, contact University Archivist Anne Turkos (301-405-9060;

The Father of Maryland’s Forests: M.A.C. Alumnus Fred Besley

What would Maryland look like if there were no trees? McKeldin Mall, at the heart of the University of Maryland’s campus, would be barren. Drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway many of and Maryland’s other roads and highways would only be able see road signs and billboards. The great forests in Patapsco Valley State Park, Deep Creek Lake State Park and all the other state parks would be gone too. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Fortunately today, trees are a common and beautiful sight all over Maryland, thanks in large part to Maryland Agricultural College alum Fred Besley, the first Maryland State Forester and the father of forestry in Maryland.

Willow Way, circa 1985

The trees on the north side of McKeldin Mall are willow oaks which have provided share for generations of students.

Besley was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1872. He entered the Maryland Agricultural College (later the University of Maryland) at the young age of 16 and graduated in 1892 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He started working as a teacher, but soon grew dissatisfied and left to work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During his first visit at the USDA, Besley met Gifford Pinchot, the father of American conservation, who convinced him to work in the Division of Forestry. “Pinchot was so boiling over with enthusiasm about forestry that then and there I adopted forestry as my career,” Besley later recalled. Besley worked as a student assistant for Pinchot and took advanced courses in forestry from Yale University.

In 1906, Besley was appointed the first Maryland State Forester. Maryland was just the third state to even have a state forester, and he was hand-picked by his mentor Pinchot to lead the state’s forestry and conservation efforts. Immediately, Besley went to work protecting Maryland forests from fires, pests and fungal diseases, and excessive harvesting and cutting practices. Land for state parks and forests were increased from a little under 2,000 acres in 1906 to well over 117,000 acres by his retirement in 1942. After Maryland passed the Roadside Tree Law, the nation’s first law to protect trees and natural areas near public roads, Besley encouraged utilities and the State Roads Commission to plant and maintain roadside trees and made sure that unauthorized advertisements were not put on public highways. One of Besley’s favorite leisure activities was to arm his family with handsaws for a Sunday drive, hunting for any illegal signs on the roads to cut down and haul away. Besley’s 36-year storied career laid the groundwork for the great system of state forests and parks that Marylanders enjoy all over the state today.

Fred Besley

Protecting Maryland forests was no joking matter for Fred Besley. Photograph courtesy The Forest History Society.

Fred Besley at a Campfire talk

Besley (standing) believed in teaching the public about the value of forests. He is shown here giving a talk to the Maryland Mountain Club in 1941. Photograph courtesy of the Maryland State Archives.

By 1916, Besley had personally surveyed, cataloged, and mapped every single wooded area larger than five acres in the entire state of Maryland! A ten-year project, he often had to travel by horse or on foot to get to remote areas. “I’d hire a horse and buggy at a livery stable and jolt out along the dirt roads as far as possible and then on foot follow the cow paths up through the woods,” he later said. He published a book, The Forests of Maryland, based on his work, which was regarded by many as one of the finest forest surveys written.

Besley remained involved with his alma mater throughout his career. He occasionally taught forestry classes, and he established the state’s first forest tree nursery in College Park in 1914 on the corner of Route 1 and Lakeland Road. Besley’s assistant foresters were so well-trained that the university constantly tried to hire them away as professors of forestry, though Besley fought hard to keep them working for the state forest service. He had a personal relationship with many presidents of the University of Maryland and often made recommendations about campus trees. Besley even visited President Raymond Pearson’s house often and once helped discover a mysterious disease that kept killing all the oak trees on his property!

After Fred Besley’s retirement in 1942, he remained active in forestry, teaching classes at the University of West Virginia and privately maintaining forests on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He died in Laurel, Maryland, in 1960. Without Besley, the Maryland would look very different. The M.A.C. alum’s commitment to healthy forests, public parks, and beautiful natural areas made a major impact on the state and became a model for forestry and conservation around the country.

15 of the Most Iconic Front Pages From The Diamondback

The Diamondback student newspaper has been a huge part of the University of Maryland for over 100 years. Originally named The Triangle, The Diamondback has covered everything from local campus news to world events, national celebrations, and tragedies. In connection with our current Launch UMD campaign to raise money to digitize The Diamondback and make it available online worldwide, we have compiled a list of 15 of the most iconic Diamondback front pages dating all the way back to 1910.

Are there events or stories that we missed? With the Diamondback archive fully available online, you will be able to explore and make your own list. Make sure to check our Twitter and Facebook pages for more iconic front pages throughout the rest of April.

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Noted Marine Biologist Eugenie “Shark Lady” Clark, Former UMD Professor, Dies at 92

The university mourns the loss of marine biologist Eugenie Clark,who passed away on February 25 in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Clark taught marine biology at the University of Maryland from 1968 until her retirement in 1992. Born in New York City on May 4, 1922, to a Japanese mother and an American father, Clark would later become a pioneer in the field of marine biology and break down many barriers for women in the field.

Photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

23 photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium


Although Clark researched other fish, discovering several species and having a few named in her honor, she focused mostly on sharks. Her fascination began in her childhood at the age of nine when on visits to the New York Aquarium at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, she’d press her nose to the shark tanks and imagine herself inside, swimming with the sharks. She would later go on to earn a B.A. in zoology from Hunter College in 1942 and a master’s and Ph.D. from New York University. She conducted underwater scientific research completing 70 deep dives in submersibles. During one dive in the Sea of Cortez, she rode the back of a 50-foot whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. It’s no wonder why she was referred to as the “Shark Lady.”

photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

photo courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Clark wrote the best-selling book Lady with a Spear in 1953 about her experiences conducting research in the South Pacific, which inspired many people to work in marine biology, particularly women. She went on to found the Mote Marine Laboratory in 1955, which focuses on research concerning sharks, wild fisheries, coral reef restoration, marine biomedical research, and other issues.

photo courtesy of David Doubilet for National Geographic

photo courtesy of David Doubilet for National Geographic

Eugenie Clark was well respected and loved by her colleagues at the University of Maryland. Arthur Popper, professor emeritus and research professor in the Department of Biology here at the university had this to say of her:
“Genie was an amazing communicator of science and was able to make science exciting to everyone from children to colleagues. Genie was in high demand as a speaker around the world, and her talks combined great science and infectious enthusiasm for science. Indeed, I recall one week when I heard Genie give a talk on her work to a spell-bound group of 10 year olds in my daughter’s elementary school class, and then she gave a very similar talk to an equally spell-bound group of scientists,  including Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Leaky. Genie was able to captivate audiences, and impart an excitement of science, and a love of science, that was powerful and unique. I know a number of people, including a good number of women, who decided on careers in science or science-related fields after being inspired by Genie.”

Eugenie Clark will be missed by everyone at the University of Maryland as well as the scientific community at large for her contributions to the field of marine biology and her wonderful spirit.

Track Glory at Cole Field House

On March 13, the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships will begin at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This year the Terps are sending two athletes, Amber Melville and Thea LaFond to compete in the high jump and triple jump against the nation’s best collegiate competitors! But did you know that Cole Field House has seen some memorable track and field performances in its day too?

For decades Cole Field House was home to a handsome four lane wooden track.

Cole Field House’s handsome looking track was wooden, 1/11th of a mile around.

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Happy Birthday UMD!

On this day,159 years ago, the Maryland General Assembly granted a charter to the Maryland Agricultural College, now known as the University of Maryland. Charles Benedict Calvert, a descendant of the first Lord Baltimore, and a group of prominent Maryland planters led the effort to establish the college which was to focus on instruction in scientific agriculture and training its students “for all the duties of a man and a citizen.” You can read the original charter for the MAC here.

So Happy Birthday, University of Maryland!!

Julie Andrews visits campus


Hard to believe we’ve just passed the 50th anniversary of the release of the classic movie “The Sound of Music.” DYK that Julie Andrews received an honorary degree from UMD in 1970?

Originally posted on Terrapin Tales:

Julie Andrews and her husband Blake Andrews Julie Andrews and her husband Blake Andrews

Since 1921, the University of Maryland has awarded honorary degrees to many distinguished individuals, including authors, scientists, political and business leaders, musicians, artists,historians, and members of the military, marking their contributions to the world at large.

Honorary degree citation Click to read the official honorary degree citation speech!

Julie Andrews 4 Dr. Elkins confers the honorary degree on Julie Andrews

One recipient familiar to fans of the stage and silver screen was Julie Andrews, who received her honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the June 6, 1970, commencement.  Ms. Andrews is perhaps best remembered for her roles in “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins,” but she has also had a brilliant career on Broadway.

She joins many other performers and musicians on the university’s honorary degree lists (A-K and L-Z), including Bill Cosby, Ira Gershwin, Eubie Blake, Rosa Ponselle, and Sergiu Comissiona.

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Valentine’s Advice

Alumna Minnie Hill, Class of 1925, had a great piece of Valentine’s advice…A Recipe for Kisses:

To one piece of dark piazza, add a little moonlight. Take for granted two people. Press in two strong ones a small hand. Sift lightly two ounces of attraction, one of Romance. Add a large measure of Folly. Stir in a floating ruffle and one or two whispers. Dissolve half a small quantity of hesitation, one ounce of resistance, two of yielding. Place the kisses on a flushed cheek or lips. Flavor with a slight scream and set aside to cool. This will succeed in any climate if directions are carefully followed.

Her scrapbook really rocks!  Visit the University Archives to see the other treasures Minnie collected during her undergraduate days!

20 Maryland Students You Wish Were Your Roommates

It’s hard to forget the people we meet in college, and lots of times, these are the people you’ll know for the rest of your life! We’ve picked 20 UMD alumni or groups of students we think would be great roommates and life-long friends. See if you agree.


1. First, there’s Jim Henson- the creative roommate who can always keep you entertained.


Jim Henson created and performed with puppets even before be started at UMD. Shortly before his freshman year in 1954, he created Sam and Friends, a puppet show that was televised on local stations and featured a character named Kermit, later to become the famous Kermit the Frog. Henson graduated from UMD in 1960, with a degree in Home Economics.


2. And Connie Chung- the roommate who always knows what’s going on around campus.

Connie Chung_1966

Before she became a journalist and news anchor of national renown, Connie Chung was active in student government and journalism at UMD. On top of that, she was even elected freshman queen in 1966! Chung graduated in 1969 with a degree in journalism.


3. There’s the roommate who always thinks outside the box…

Drinking water the hard way, University of Maryland, circa 1974_2

There’s more than one way to drink from the fountain…


4. And Boomer Esiason- the roommate who is always there to drive you to class.

Boomer Esiason_1984

Raining? Class on the other side of campus?  Better get a ride! Before he graduated in 1984, star quarterback Boomer Esiason’s truck was a common sight at UMD. “That thing could go wherever it wanted to, where ever Boomer wanted to drive it,” said a former roommate, “and Boomer had a knack for seeing a parking spot where there was nothing but grass and bushes.” Better watch out for DOTS!


5. How about Judith Resnik- the roommate who can help you with your math homework.

Judith Resnick_1986

Judith Resnik spent several years at UMD as a graduate student, before receiving her Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1977.  Her intense-sounding dissertation was titled “Bleaching Kinetics of Visual Pigments.” Afterwards, she became the second woman in space and spent 145 hours in orbit before being tragically killed in the Challenger explosion in 1986.


6. Or a roommate who will always watch your back.

Women's Rifle Team, ca. 1920-1930

The Women’s Rifle Team was founded at UMD in 1922 and dominated the national scene for nearly twenty years, featuring multiple national champions and an Olympian on the team. We think it’s safe to say they always hit their mark!


7. There’s also William Cole- the roommate who becomes your best friend.

William Cole_1910

The namesake of historic Cole Field House, William P. Cole was apparently obsessed with sports while he was a Civil Engineering student at the Maryland Agricultural College. According to his senior entry in the 1910 yearbook, he was known to watch baseball “for hours at a time,” not stopping for anything. But Cole was even more devoted to his friends then he was to baseball. After arriving at school, Cole was assigned a room with baseball star and class president Jackson Grason, and “to our knowledge has not left him since.”


8. And Juan Dixon- the roommate who you want on your rec basketball team.

Juan Dixon_2001

A two-time All-American and the holder of six school records including total points scored, Juan is the man you need on your squad for that intramural championship.


9.  Don’t forget food! Everyone needs a roommate who can keep you well fed.

Students at table in barracks with ham, Maryland Agricultural College, 1902

Yes, you’re reading this image correctly- these cadets are eyeing a big smoked ham hanging from the ceiling in this 1902 dorm room photo. And did we mention the stellar room-decorating skills?


10. Could your roommate secretly be Testudo?

Testudo mascot standing with Testudo statue, McKeldin Library, University of Maryland, circa 2003

Who is the student in the Testudo costume?  It could be anyone! But did you ever think it’s strange that you’ve never seen your roommate at any Maryland games?


11. Watch out for Harry Clifton “Curley” Byrd- the roommate who is a total heart-throb.

Curly Byrd_1908

Here’s what the 1908 yearbook had to say about Byrd: “when ‘Curly’ grins, watch out. Something is sure to break. His paths are strewn with the broken hearts of guileless maidens whom he has ‘loved to death,’ he-siren that he is, and never has our handsome Don Juan been found ‘de trop’ in feminine society.” Need we say anything else?


12. And there’s Tom McMillen- the roommate who has a killer sense of fashion.

Tom McMillan_1971

Three-time All-American, Academic All-American, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar, Tom McMillen graduated at the top of his class with a degree in chemistry in 1974.  During his years at UMD, McMillen was a lot more than a smart-looking coat and tie.


13. Boring day in the dorm? You need Munro Leaf- the roommate who is an awesome story teller.

If you haven’t already read the story of Ferdinand the Bull, you probably should! After Leaf wrote the popular story of the bull who would rather smell flowers than fight, it was published in more than 60 languages and even turned into a Disney film that won an Academy Award in 1938. Leaf was an English major and graduated in 1927.


14.Lost and can’t find your way around campus? Everyone needs a roommate who knows their way around UMD!

Freshman Becky Mewis getting directions, circa September 1958

It seems like there’s a new building or some kind of construction job every year at UMD. And let’s face it- we all needed help finding our classes freshman year.


15. And let’s not forget Gary Williams- the roommate who has to win everything.

Gary Williams_1965

Before this fist-pumping coach was leading the Terps to a national championship and hundreds of wins at home and on the road, Gary Williams was a determined student-athlete who would stop at nothing to win. In his student days at UMD, Gary spent long hours perfecting his skills on the basketball court. His hard work made him team captain in 1967, and he graduated with a school record in field goal percentage. Let’s just hope some of that work effort rubs off on you come finals time…


16. Need some help with tools? Here’s Millard Tydings- the roommate who can help you build things.

Millard Tydings_1900

Tydings is the one on far right.

For those of us who have had to put their dorm room furniture together or build projects for classes, look no further than Millard Tydings, Class of 1910. The future Maryland  Senator majored in Engineering and was a wiz with all things mechanical. If your construction project is going to take a while, you’re also in luck! Tydings was a gifted speaker and could talk about any subject for hours. Don’t say things are ever boring when he’s around.


17.And did we already mention that everyone needs a roommate who likes to eat?

Alpha Delta Pi Members Snacking, 1954

Because food is important when you’re a student, that’s why.


18. But if you’ve been eating TOO well, then there’s Randy White, the roommate who will go to the gym with you

Randy White_1974

Randy White wasn’t called half man and half monster for nothing. “The Manster” was a fearsome presence on the gridiron, earning All-American status twice and winning the Lombardi Trophy in 1974. The defensive end weighed 248 pounds, could bench-press 430 pounds, and ran the 40 in 4.6 seconds and is definitely the man you would want to spot you on the weight bench.


19. Most importantly though, everyone needs a roommate who can just be themselves, whether they’re just super chill…

Student Relaxing with in Residence, 1975


20. Or they’re loudest, craziest person you’ve ever met!

Terp Fans Painted Red, 2003


Is there someone you think we missed? Leave a comment and let us know!